Three meals a day, if you include work or TV

Americans are devoting less time to meals than they did a decade ago and waiting longer before eating them, according to two USDA analysts. The old idea of three meals a day applies to 21st century America only if you include food consumption that is secondary to something else, such as working or watching TV and movies.

In CDC report on ‘fast food,’ Sweetgreen and McDonald’s are treated as equals

A much-publicized report from the Centers for Disease Control released earlier this month found that more than a third of Americans eat fast food daily. But what wasn't included in the media coverage was that the study’s definition of "fast food" includes fast-casual restaurants, such as the custom-salad chain Sweetgreen, as well as coffee, bagel, and even ice cream shops. Such a broad definition, well beyond the burger-centric drive-through that the term "fast food" calls to mind, raises questions about how much the CDC data actually reveal about American eating habits.

Three things that go together: Young adults, affluence and fast food

Roughly 37 percent of U.S. adults eat fast food daily, says a CDC analysis of dietary data, but the rate is much higher for men and women aged 20-39 and for higher-income people. "Fast food consumption has been associated with increased intake of calories, fat, and sodium," says the CDC, which estimates adult Americans get 11 percent of their calories from fast food.

Philadelphia and Baltimore schools switch to compostable plates

The omni-present polystyrene tray, a fixture in cafeteria and fast-food restaurants across the country, is almost too cheap to replace at 4 cents apiece. Yet the public schools in Philadelphia and Baltimore are switching to a molded-fiber compostable plate, made from recycled paper fibers, that is nearly as inexpensive at 5 cents each.

Some nutritionists blame free trade for obesity epidemic in Mexico

As Mexicans consume more calories, there is a debate whether free trade and foreign investment resulted in an epidemic of obesity or whether it reduced malnutrition by lowering food prices, says the New York Times. Fast food restaurants and convenience stores multiplied across Mexico as its economy grew in recent decades.

The food swamp is a greater risk than the food desert for obesity

A study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity "suggests that living in a food swamp — a neighborhood where fast food and junk food outlets outnumber healthy alternatives — is a stronger predictor of high obesity rates" than so-called food deserts with limited access to nutritious food, says ScienceBlog.

Government agents are in the cheese business

In the midst of a national cheese glut, a government-sponsored marketing group called Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) is partnering with fast-food restaurants to encourage Americans to eat more cheese. Last year, farmers poured out 50 million gallons of milk because prices and demand were so low. As dairy consumption has dropped, DMI, which was behind the popular “Got Milk?” campaign, now spends much of its time sending experts into the secret product-creation rooms of chains like Burger King, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Wendy’s.

Who eats fast food? Everybody, but middle-income earners especially.

Fast food regularly is blamed for contributing to rising obesity rates because it is typically high in fat and salt, says CNN’s The Conversation. And because it’s relatively inexpensive, poor people get the rap of eating too much fast food, though research shows all income groups enjoy a …

Perdue cites controversial Chick-fil-A as example of good customer service

At a farm conference, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue likened his ideal of USDA service at its local offices to the service at the Chick-fil-A chain, which has been a target of criticism by gay-rights activists. Perdue described that ideal as a "what'll you have" greeting, convenient hours, "and a quality product with pleasure."